Welcome to another installment of my series Patriotic Disney in which I’ll be discussing the many facets of Walt Disney’s patriotism and how it permeates his work and legacy.
Many of the lands and attractions in Disney’s theme Parks reveal his patriotism, his love of the American way of life and belief in the entrepreneurial spirit.
One of my very favorite Walt Disney quotes is “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
Lands like Main Street USA, Liberty Square, and Frontierland bring us back to the formative years of our country. Attractions like the Hall of Presidents and the American Adventure speak to what sets America apart.
The American Adventure is located at the very back of Epcot’s World Showcase, as you enter World Showcase you can see the pavilion directly across the lagoon.
The American Adventure Pavilion is a massive structure in order to house the large theater and show mechanisms. The building is five stories tall, but through Disney’s use of forced perspective it’s made to appear only three stories tall.
Show times for the roughly 30 minute show are posted to the side of the door as you enter the Colonial-style structure which was inspired by historic American structures such as: Independence Hall, Boston’s Old State House, Monticello and Colonial Williamsburg.
The first floor is large and open and serves as the waiting area. On the walls you’ll find beautiful paintings depicting scenes from the history of America, as well as quotations from famous Americans.
Off to one side is the American Heritage Gallery, which features over 40 special artifacts on loan to Epcot. The exhibit includes items that belonged to many famous Americans such as: Abe Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Senator Daniel Inouye, Astronaut Gus Grissom, and many more.
While waiting for the next showing you’ll be entertained by the Voices of Liberty, a group of 10 singers dressed in colonial costumes that sing patriotic and folk songs in harmonized a capella.
The Voices of Liberty perform prior to the American Adventure show.
Once it’s time for the show you’ll take escalators through the Hall of Flags to the second floor theatre entrance. In this area hang 44 flags that have flown over the United States through its history. Including Revolutionary War flags, Colonial flags, and foreign flags that flew prior to the founding of the United States.
You’ll enter the huge theater from the right. Take your time finding a row to enter even though as in Disney fashion the castmember will be directing you to “Select a row and proceed all the way to the end, making room for those behind you.”
Your goal is to enter a row mid stream and wind up near the center.
Flanking the 150 foot wide screen on the side walls are twelve statues representing the “Spirits of America.” They are the Spirits of Individualism, Innovation, Tomorrow, Independence, Compassion, Discovery, Freedom, Heritage, Pioneering, Knowledge, Self-Reliance, and Adventure. Take some time on the way out to check them out.
Walt is know for many innovations in so many different areas, but one of the biggest was the development of the audio-animatronics used in his theme parks. Rides and shows like Pirates of the Caribbean, the Jungle Cruise, and the Carousel of Progress just wouldn’t be the same without these moving talking figures.
The American Adventure attraction takes audio-animatronics to the next level, coordinating them with scenes and footage, which takes place on the 72-foot wide projection behind them.
The show in narrated by the figures of Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain, each chosen to represent their century of American progress.
The pair takes us through various scenes in the development of America. The scenes are presented both in still images, animations, movies, and by 35 audio-animatronic figures.
Scenes include: the Mayflower and the Pilgrims; the Boston Tea Party; the writing of the Declaration of Independence; Valley Forge and the Revolutionary War; slavery and the Civil War; the suffering of Native Americans; the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition; the founding of Yosemite National Park; and both World Wars.
The finale is a moving video accompanied by the attraction’s theme song “Golden Dreams” depicting more recent events. The backdrop screen expands to the full 150-foot wide span during the finale.
The finale of Disney World’s the American Adventure is a video set to music.
While not a “thrill ride” this attraction is one of my favorites. As a former member of our Nation’s Armed Forces it never fails to move me. I highly recommend it!
Note: there are those who enjoy this attraction for the simple joy of 30 minutes off their feet in a dim air-conditioned room…
Are you a fan the American Adventure? Is it for the patriotic show or the opportunity to bob your head during a long day at Disney?
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